No. 4 Bradley 64, No. 5 Southern Illinois 59
Tournament attendance: The afternoon attendance for the first quarterfinal session is 7,399.
MVC Tourney Notes: Bradley winning 21 games for the first time since 2015 and advances to the semifinals for the 21st time in school history, will face Drake for the first time in the semifinals. This is the first time the fourth seed has advanced to the semifinals since 2016 when UNI won the tournament. It’s the ninth time overall the #4 seed has reached the semifinals. Bradley’s 12 blocked shots are tied for second best on the tourney single game list.
Bradley win: Bradley improves to 21-11 on the season and 36-37 all-time in the MVC Tournament. They top SIU for the third time this season, and trail the Salukis 3-5 in the MVC Tourney. The Braves advance to the semifinals for the third year in a row and are 21-13 in the quarterfinal round.
Bradley Notes: Bradley hit 45 percent from the floor in the second half to get its game percentage to .397 (23/58). Bradley controlled the rebounds 43-29 with Elijah Childs getting nine boards. Darrell Brown led BU scoring with 19 points and Childs added 16. Childs had 10 of his points in the first and passed the 1,000—point mark in his career and blocked a career-high tying 5 shots. Brown had 15 of his points in the second half and had a game-high eight assists and a season-high five turnovers. Ville Tahvanainen scored a career-best four treys. Danya Kingsby reached a season high 6 rebounds.
SIU Loss: After losing five of their last six games in the regular season, the Salukis lose their fourth game in a row to drop their season record to 16-16. Their all-time MVC Tournament record also falls to 36-36. SIU is 5-3 against Bradley in the MVC Tourney, and complete the season 0-3 against the BU. The Salukis miss the semifinals for the second year in a row, and 10th time in the last 13 tries.
SIU Notes: After Lance Jones scored a career-high 28 points in the final regular season game last week, he came out sharp with 12 first half points and finished with 20 points. This was his 3rd 20-plus point performance this year. Marcus Domask, who averaged 13.8 ppg on the season, was 0-for-6 shooting in his last game and was 0-for-5 in today’s game before hitting a trey early in the second half. He finished the game with 6. Eric McGill tied a season high in rebounds with 9 boards to go along with 10 points.
First Half: Bradley jumped into a 5-0 lead as SIU went the first 4:10 minutes scoreless but the Salukis drew even at 5-5 by the 15:20 mark. SIU kept rolling with a 10-0 and a 10-5 lead with 11:47 left as Bradley had been scoreless since the 17:02 mark. SIU moved up 12-5 with 8:50 to play before Bradley broke a scoring drought of 8:22 minutes with a basket at the 8:40 mark. It was 12-7 at the 8-minute media time out. The teams began to warm up from long range the last five minutes of the half as each canned a pair of treys to make it 20-17 SIU with three minutes to play. BU closed to 20-19 before SIU moved back up by five at 24-19. The Salukis led 27-24 at halftime. Bradley got to .345 (10/29) from the floor while SIU was a shade better at .355 (11/31), and Bradley had a 24-16 rebound advantage, led by Elijah Childs with 6. Childs led Bradley scoring with 10 while Lance Jones topped all first half scorers with 12 points for SIU. Childs also recorded 4 of Bradley’s 8 blocked shots.
Second Half: Marcus Domask ended a personal 0/11 shooting slump extending back to SIU’s previous game when he hit a trey at the 16-minute mark and Trent Brown immediately followed with a trey to push SIU to its biggest lead at 37-28 with 15 minutes to play. Bradley cashed a pair of treys to get back within three and SIU still led 41-38 with nine minutes to play. Darrell Brown got a three-point play at the 7:30 mark to get BU within a point at 46-45 and Elijah Childs hit two free throws with 7:03 remaining to give the Braves their first lead since the opening three minutes of the game. The teams swapped points for several minutes with five lead changes in a three-minute span with Bradley moving in front 53-51 with four minutes to play. That game was then tied at 53, 55, 57 and 59 over a period of three minutes. JaShon Henry then hit a driving layup from the left side with 19.7 seconds left and added a free throw to make it 62-59. Lance Jones missed a jumper, and Darrell Brown got the rebound and was fouled with 6.9 seconds left. He hit both free throws and SIU couldn’t connect at the end.